Today, the White House published a press release describing a new initiative to ‘double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.’ The project, named ‘Power Africa,’ aims to ‘build on Africa’s enormous power potential, including new discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy.’
President Obama committed ‘more than $7 billion in financial support over the next five years to this effort.’ It is not a stretch to assume that the committed taxpayer funds will be a drop in the bucket, as the press release points out that ‘sub-Saharan Africa will require more than $300 billion in investment to achieve universal electricity access by 2030.’ There is no doubt that the infrastructure in Africa needs to change in order for her people to have access to electricity, but is throwing money at this problem the best solution?
It is difficult to comprehend that in such a time of economic turmoil, considering the relentless fear-mongering of the administration during sequester negotiations, that President Obama would spend $100 million dollars on the trip to Africa itself (drawing criticism from a member of his own party, Georgia democrat John Barrow), then commit billions of dollars to assist Africa in ‘oil and gas exploration.’
In the meantime, Peter Morici of Fox News writes in an opinion piece that at home, President Obama’s new climate change initiatives will impose ‘strict and inflexible requirements on each electric utility similar to corporate fuel economy standards now imposed on car and light truck manufacturers.’ Morici argues that this will ‘result in the overuse of natural gas, and unnecessarily raise both natural gas and electricity prices to manufacturers, other commercial users, and homeowners.’ In other words, under the President’s plan, the cost of energy will ‘necessarily skyrocket.’
Is President Obama really concerned about the plight of American families? Or is he looking to level the playing field? The ‘Power Africa’ initiative brings to mind a comment made by candidate Obama during a campaign speech in 2008,
‘We can’t…drive our SUVs and you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on you know, 72 degrees at all times, and whether we’re living in the desert or we’re living in the tundra, and then just expect that every other country’s going say ‘oh OK, you guys go ahead and keep on using 25 percent of the world’s energy. Even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we’ll be fine. Don’t worry about us.’
Regarding the economy, in March, President Obama made one of many egregious hand-wringing statements regarding the impact of the sequester (which he signed into law) in March,
‘Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.’
The statement earned him ‘four Pinocchios’ by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post.
In sum, American taxpayers will be forced to pay higher prices for energy, while those same taxpayers will be funding access to electricity in Africa.
Follow Renee Nal on Twitter @ReneeNal and check out TavernKeepers.com for news you won’t find in the mainstream media. Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.